Politicians in County Fermanagh say a bomb left in an abandoned car would have caused "carnage" had it gone off.
The device was discovered and defused on a road close to the border.
The PSNI said it was destined for a police station and dissident republicans are being blamed.
It was recovered in Co Fermanagh not far from the luxury Lough Erne golf resort where this June’s G8 conference of world leaders is being held.
The security alert on the Derrylin Road, Enniskillen, has ended.
The DUP's Arlene Foster says those behind the bomb were "clearly intent" on taking life and causing mass destruction.
Ms Foster said those responsible were intent on taking life but had to abandon transport of the bomb.
She said Lisnaskea police station was in a built-up area with homes and churches nearby.
Following the report of a suspect vehicle in the area in the early hours of Friday a security operation was put in place which continued through the night until approximately 11am this morning.
Residents were evacuated from their homes and Army technical officers carried out a clearance operation on the suspicious car and a viable device was made safe.
“Had this bomb been detonated in that locality there would have been carnage,” she warned.
She added: “When we look at the number of failed terrorist attempts across the province, it is clear that the police are being successful both at gathering intelligence and also at putting that knowledge to use.”
Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers said: ``The abandoned device dealt with by PSNI sadly reminds us that there are still a small minority who are determined to damage communities and cause death and disruption.
“Those responsible for it have neither mandate nor legitimacy; they are totally out of touch with what the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland want.
“Acts like this only serve to strengthen our resolve against those terrorists who have nothing to offer Northern Ireland except mayhem and destruction.”
PSNI district commander Pauline Shields said: “The people responsible for this have no regard for the lives of anyone in our community.
“It is fortunate that no-one was killed or seriously injured as a result of this reckless act.”
Ms Shields added: “Although investigations are at an early stage it is our assessment at present that this vehicle was destined for Lisnaskea PSNI station.”
“Once again our community has been disrupted and the lives of residents put at risk by an element intent on causing loss of life and disruption.
“The people who carried out this act are not part of the society within which the majority of people of Northern Ireland wish to live. The subsequent complex operation has tied up resources that would otherwise be dealing with community issues.”